What is a scripting language?
Scripting languages in essence, are a series of commands that are able to be executed without the need for compiling. Scripting languages employ a sophisticated technique to bring codes to a runtime environment. They use a program known as an interpreter to translate commands and are directly interpreted from source code, not requiring a compilation step. Other programming languages might need a compiler for the purpose of translating commands into machine code before they are able to execute those commands.
In key ways, scripting languages are created for specific runtime environments and they are able to automate some level of the code implementation. Scripting languages are pretty much modernizations of a system that previously made use of compilers to interpret inputs.
What is the difference between a scripting language and a programming language?
In the scripting language vs programming language discussion, here’s what you need to know:
The primary difference between a scripting language and a programming language is in their execution – programming languages use a compiler to convert the high-level programming languages into machine language, on the other hand, scripting languages use an interpreter. While a compiler compiles a code in a complete chunk, an interpreter compiles a code line by line.
By definition, A programming language is essentially a formal language that combines a set of instructions that can be fed into the computer to generate a specific output.
A scripting language falls under the umbrella of programming languages and supports scripts that are programs written exclusively for a special runtime environment to automate the execution of a specific function.
Programming languages are compiled into a more compact design that does not require to be interpreted by another language or application.
Programming languages are designed to facilitate full-fledged code and software development whereas scripting languages are specifically designed to make coding faster and much simpler.
Coding with programming languages is relatively difficult as many lines of code are required for a single function. Creating a code function with a scripting language is easier as it requires only a few short and specific lines to be written.
Thus, writing a full-fledged code with programming languages usually takes a longer time to develop as more lines need to be written while coding with a scripting language requires less time as smaller chunks need to be written.
Compiled programs run generally run faster than interpreted programs since compilers read and analyze the code at once and report errors (if any) collectively.
An interpreter, however, reads and analyzes a code line by line, and every time it detects an error, it stops addressing them one by one.
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What are the types of scripting languages?
There are two types of scripting languages. Server-side scripting language and client-side scripting language.
1. Server-side scripting languages
Server-side scripting is required to access or store persistent data like user profile information. Whether that involves pulling data from a file server, database or mail server, it can all be done with a server-side scripting language like PHP.
Web servers are used to execute server side scripting. They are basically used to create dynamic pages. It can also access the file system residing at web server. Server-side environment that runs on a scripting language is a web-server.
Scripts can be written in any of a number of server-side scripting language available. It is used to retrieve and generate content for dynamic pages. It is used to require to download plugins. In this load times are generally faster than client-side scripting. When you need to store and retrieve information a database will be used to contain data. It can use huge resources of server. It reduces client-side computation overhead. Server sends pages to request of the client.
- It processes the user input
- Displays the requested pages
- Structure of web applications
- Interaction with servers/storages
- Interaction with databases
- Querying the database
- Encoding of data into HTML
- Operations over databases like delete, update.
Examples of server-side scripting languages
- ASP.NET (C# OR Visual Basic)
- Java and JSP
- Ruby on Rails and so on.
2. Client-side scripting languages
There are a wide range of client-side frameworks available, including React.js (from Facebook) and Angular (from Google). Some frameworks combine client-side and server-side scripting, like Vue.js and Laravel. These work well together and can make the creation of a complete application far less painful, with lots of helpful tutorials available.
Once a page is loaded, client-side scripting doesn’t require any additional help from the server – all the work is done by your browser on its own. Client-side scripting can respond to user input to display different content based on specific actions, but all the actual data has to be provided by the server beforehand.
Sites that use a lot of client-side scripting can perform well and take some of the load off the server, but it can also be difficult to implement advanced functionality using client-side techniques alone.
- Makes interactive web pages
- Make stuff work dynamically
- Interact with temporary storage
- Works as an interface between user and server
- Sends requests to the server
- Retrieval of data from Server
- Interact with local storage
- Provides remote access for client-server program
Examples of client-side scripting languages
- HTML (Structure)
- CSS (Designing)
- jQuery etc.
3. Front-end versus back-end
The terms ‘front-end’ and ‘back-end’ are often used interchangeably with client-side and server-side, respectively. But this isn’t totally accurate. Front-end development involves all the things the user sees and interacts with, making web design and user experience key concerns. Back-end development covers basically everything else, including the server and databases.
What are some use cases of scripting languages?
Scripting languages are used in many areas, both on and off the web. In addition to server-side and client-side applications, scripting languages can be used in system administration. Examples of scripts used in system admin are Shell, Perl, and Python.
Scripting languages are also used in lots of games and multimedia. For example, Minecraft mods use Java to allow users to create their own worlds and items in the game. Additionally, Second Life, Trainz, and Wesnoth all allow users to create extensions on the games.
What are the benefits of scripting languages?
There are many benefits to using scripting languages over other programming languages. First, they are open-source. This allows users from around the world to join in the improvement process. Other scripting language examples and pros include:
- No requirement to compile, although occasionally it is necessary.
- Easy to transfer between operating systems.
- Scripting languages make web pages look awesome.
- Easier to learn and write.
- Scripts can be used as a prototype for programs, saving time on test projects.
It was also beneficial to embed general-purpose scripting languages rather than creating a new language for each application, especially because the application developer did not need to code a language translator from scratch and the users are able to apply the skills learned elsewhere.